June 3, 2015
For people who cannot read, life is full of road blocks.  According to a 2013 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults – 14 percent of the U.S. population – can’t read, and 21 percent of adults in this country read below a fifth grade level.
 
To assist individuals who lack basic reading, writing, and computation skills, East Central College and the South Central Missouri Literacy Council are partnering to offer literacy tutor training in June.
 
No special academic degrees are required to be a tutor.  People who can read and write, are willing to be trained, have patience, and are interested in helping others qualify to tutor.
 
“As a volunteer tutor with our program, people will have the opportunity to work with adults on reading, math, writing or high school equivalency test preparation,” noted Alice Whalen, director of adult education and literacy at ECC.  “Volunteers will be given orientation and training locally.  Then, all it takes is a commitment of several hours a week to tutor someone.”

Whalen stated that tutors do more than help others. “You can open doors for yourself, too. Volunteering in an educational program is one of the most rewarding and gratifying experiences you’ll ever have,” she said.
“We have people in our communities who cannot read a street sign, a product label, a warning sign or a bedtime story to their children,” Whalen said. “They cannot fill out a simple form, complete a job application or write a letter to their family.”
The program is seeking literacy volunteers to work with individuals in Cuba, Rolla and St. James as well as English as a Second Language tutors in Rolla.
“For the English as a Second Language program we need to prepare tutors to work with adults who are learning and developing the language skills necessary for living and working in the community, stated Diane Crowder, literacy council board member and tutor trainer.  “Tutors will work one-on-one with individuals who either desire to acquire English language skills or prepare to take the test to earn citizenship.  ESL tutors need to be fluent in English and sensitive to cultural differences.”
Two tutor training sessions have been scheduled at the Phelps County Courthouse located at 200 N. Main Street in Rolla.  The first is set for Tuesday, June 23, from 9 a.m. until noon in the University of Missouri Extension office on the first floor of the Courthouse.  Individuals who cannot make it during the day can attend an evening session which will be held Thursday, June 25, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room, Suite 149 at the Courthouse.
To reserve a seat at either training session call 573-719-1323 or email ael@eastcentral.edu by June 16.  Volunteers must provide a criminal background check. That cost is $12 and must be paid  by the  volunteer.  Background check forms will be available at the tutor training sessions.

 





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